(注：本文是译文，Original text from white paper of IEC)
Today, smart grid, smart homes, smart water networks, intelligent transportation, are infrastructure systems that connect our world more than we ever thought possible. The common vision of such systems is usually associated with one single concept, the internet of things (IoT), where through the use of sensors, the entire physical infrastructure is closely coupled with information and communication technologies; where intelligent monitoring and management can be achieved via the usage of net-worked embedded devices. In such a sophisticated dynamic system, devices are interconnected to transmit useful measurement information and con-trol instructions via distributed sensor networks.
A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a network formed by a large number of sensor nodes where each node is equipped with a sensor to detect physical phenomena such as light, heat, pressure, etc. WSNs are regarded as a revolutionary information gathering method to build the information and communication system which will greatly improve the reliability and efficiency of infrastructure systems. Compared with the wired solution, WSNs feature easier deployment and better flexibility of devices. With the rapid technological development of sensors, WSNs will become the key technology for IoT.
Today sensors are everywhere. We take it for granted, but there are sensors in our vehicles, in our smart phones, in factories controlling CO2 emissions, and even in the ground monitoring soil conditions in vineyards. While it seems that sensors have been around for a while, research on wireless sensor networks (WSNs) started back in the 1980s, and it is only since 2001 that WSNs generated an increased interest from industrial and research perspectives. This is due to the availability of inexpensive, low powered miniature components like processors, radios and sensors that were often integrated on a single chip (system on a chip (SoC)).
The idea of internet of things (IoT) was developed in parallel to WSNs. The term internet of things was devised by Kevin Ashton in 1999  and refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an “internet-like” structure. These objects can be anything from large buildings, industrial plants, planes, cars, machines, any kind of goods, specific parts of a larger system to human beings, animals and plants and even specific body parts of them.
While IoT does not assume a specific communication technology, wireless communication technologies will play a major role, and in particular, WSNs will proliferate many applications and many industries. The small, rugged, inexpensive and low powered WSN sensors will bring the IoT to even the smallest objects installed in any kind of environment, at reasonable costs. Integration of these objects into IoT will be a major evolution of WSNs.
A WSN can generally be described as a network of nodes that cooperatively sense and may control the environment, enabling interaction between persons or computers and the surrounding environment . In fact, the activity of sensing, processing, and communication with a limited amount of energy, ignites a cross-layer design approach typically requiring the joint consideration of distributed signal/data processing, medium access control, and communication protocols.
Through synthesizing existing WSN applications as part of the infrastructure system, potential new applications can be identified and developed to meet future technology and market trends. For instance WSN technology applications for smart grid, smart water, intelligent transportation systems, and smart home generate huge amounts of data, and this data can serve many purposes.